Good news for crazy dog people: Your best friends are now allowed on some Las Vegas Valley patios. But wait—weren’t they always? Paul Klouse, environmental health manager at the Southern Nevada Health District, helps to clear things up.
“Dog-friendly patio waivers” were created last year when California chain Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar asked to allow pups on their patio, as they do in their Golden State locations. The health district hadn’t dealt with the request before, but accommodated it by calling on a 2010 food code that allows the district to write waivers rather than seek health-board variances, which takes more time. Dog patios that operated before last summer were either in violation of health code or are located on public sidewalks, which have always been fair game for pets. “Instead of having an uncontrolled environment, it mitigates contamination risk,” Klouse says of the new waiver policy.
So far they’ve been granted to five Egg Works, two Lazy Dogs (A Town Square location is on its way), one Born and Raised and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill Summerlin. The rules stipulate that restaurants must have external entrances to their patios, dogs must remain on the ground (not on furniture or held by owners), staff cannot touch the animals, and the restaurant must stock clean-up kits and a way to cordon off an area in case of an accident.
While it’s certainly a win for dog lovers, there’s good news for the pet-ambivalent, too: Most restaurants that have obtained waivers provide animal-free patio areas as well.